1/48 Tamiya Ki-46 – B-29 Hunter

Gallery Article by Mark L. Rossmann on July 11 2012



Mitsubishi Ki-46 Hayakushiki Shitei, or “Dinah” as known by the allies, began in December of 1937 as a request from the Japanese Army for a long range recon plane that could carry out missions without interception from the enemy. Requirements were for 6 hours of flight at 250 mph, at 20,000 ft. with a maximum speed of 375 mph at 13,500 ft. Flight tests began in November of 1939, the Army was very happy with results as it was better than the latest Army fighter the Ki-43 and superior to the Zero. The production version consisted of 2 Mitsubishi Ha-102, 14 cylinder air-cooled radial engines with output of 1400 h.p. each.

A total of 1,093 of the Ki-46-II’s were built. The Ki-46-III version went into production with upgraded engines each outputting 1500 h.p. in 1943, with greater fuel capacity and a newly designed forward section, providing much improved handling characteristics and aerodynamics.

In June of 1943 the Army needed a high performance high altitude fighter, adapting the Ki-46-III, which had the high altitude performance required, was approved in May of 1944 and work immediately began. Two 20mm cannon were installed in a modified stepped nose, which also removed the forward fuselage tank. These aircraft were designated as Hayakushiki Shitei III Kai Air Defense Fighter “Otsu” type. In July of 1944 the Army requested that a forward firing 37mm cannon be placed in the upper fuselage to fire upward at a 70 degree angle, these aircraft were called Hayakushiki Shitei III Kai Air Defense Fighter “Otsu Hei” type. Most of these were flown by non combat experienced Recon pilots, the Ki-46-III Kai proved a disappointment. It was a difficult climb and catch of the high-flying Boeing B-29 Super Fortresses, and when it did catch the American bombers, the fighter's lack of armor and self-sealing tanks left it highly vulnerable to the B-29's heavy defensive armament. When the B-29s shifted to low-level night raids in May 1945, the Ki-46-III Kai became almost useless as it had no radar. 


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The first is the Tamiya #45, Ki-46-III Recon version. The kit instructions were good as usual. The fit as always is great with Tamiya and the interior with crew is done up nicely. Used the Tamiya synthetic spray AS-17 Dark IJA Green and AS-18 IJA Light Grey. The aircraft served in the Dorikuritsu Hikotai 18th Chutai, since it could reach the altitude of the B-29, it was used for dedicated patrol over the home islands to track incoming raids. 

The second is the Tamiya #56, Ki-46 Defense Fighter. The kit instructions were good as usual. The fit as always is great with Tamiya and the interior with crew is done very nicely. The color of this aircraft appears to have an earth tone to it, however in my representation it is IJA green, so it make be an incorrect color, as I used the standard Tamiya acrylic XF-13 IJA green, and XF-14 IJA light grey. This aircraft served with the 16th Dorikuritsu Hikotai, Taisho airfield, in December 1944. It sports the Kikusui (floating chrysanthemum) which denotes loyalty to the Emperor.


  • 1. Tamiya Instructions #45 and #56

  • 2. Osprey Aviation Elite – B-29 Hunters of the JAAF, by Koji Takaki and Henry Sakaida, 

  • 3. Rand McNally World War II Airplanes Vol. 2 by Enzio Angelucci and Paolo Matricard. Thanks to Steve for maintaining this fine site to provide articles.

Enjoy the photos.

Mark L. Rossmann


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Photos and text © by Mark L. Rossmann